Dolfo running for London
For someone with limited vision, Braedon Dolfo has seen a lot of the world.
Deteriorating eye sight left him without the ability to see peripherally — he describes his vision as peering through a straw — but that has not slowed down the 18-year-old who is making a name for himself on the international stage in track and field.
Last week, Dolfo was part of the Canadian 4x100 relay team which took second place in London at a test meet at the new 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium.
Dustin Walsh also ran a leg of the relay and both are members of the Langley Mustangs Track and Field Club.
The meet was a chance for games officials to conduct a dry run ahead of this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, which take place this July and August in London.
The Canadian team is currently ranked fourth in the world and Canadian coach Laurier Primeau expects big things from the group, which features three of its five members under the age of 21.
“While we think we can medal in London, what we are looking for is gold in 2016,” he said.
Dolfo has been a member of the Canadian para-athletic national team since 2010 and currently holds the Canadian record in long jump, high jump and 100m.
In 2011, Dolfo won bronze in the high jump at the Paralympic world championships in New Zealand and another bronze in the 100m at the Para-Pan Games in Mexico.
And it is the Paralympics he has his sights set on.
“I have dreamt about this for a long time and it is starting to come true,” Dolfo said about the goal of representing his country on the world’s biggest stage.
In order to run for Canada this summer, Dolfo and his relay mates must still achieve a certain qualifying time.
Dolfo is attempting to do this week at the Fraser Valley track and field championships at Langley’s McLeod Park.
Dolfo will compete against able-bodied athletes, but that is nothing new for the Grade 12 Langley Secondary student.
If anything, it will help prepare him for the fall when he suits up for Primeau with the Trinity Western Spartans track and field team.
“It will be interesting to run on an indoor track,” Dolfo admitted.
“The corners will be interesting to learn and develop on, but I think I can figure it out.”
Primeau anticipates no problems for Dolfo.
“To get someone of Braedon’s caliber ... he has, as far as we are concerned, no disability,” the coach said.
Dolfo’s personal best in the long jump would have placed him 10th at last year’s Canada West championships, and his time in the 100m would have been good enough to rank fifth in the country amongst able-bodied junior athletes.
“Physically, he is just a ball of fast-twitch fiber; you can’t teach that,” Primeau said.
“I have the luxury of working with someone who has a genetic gift and that just makes my job much, much easier.
“He has a huge capacity and desire to learn and is extremely motivated, dedicated and even-keeled, which I think are some very important attributes.”
Primeau also credits the work of Kim Chapdelaine, a coach with the Mustangs, in helping Dolfo develop.
“She has done a really good job of bringing him to the point where he is now,” he said.